KOTA KINABALU: Suspected Malaysian Islamic State (IS) leader Amin Baco and former academic-turned-militant Mahmud Ahmad are among 16 people who are on the latest wanted list by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).
They are wanted for transborder crimes, including terrorism, but the inclusion of Mahmud is puzzling because he was declared killed in Marawi last year.
Esscom chief DCP Hazani Ghazali said their latest wanted list, mostly consisting of Filipinos, was issued in January and included six new people while the rest had been on the previous list.
“Some of the people are wanted by Esscom for suspected terrorism and serious crimes such as beheading,” said Hazani.
Abu Sayyaf sub-commanders Indang Susukan and Hatib Hajan @ Sawadjaan are among those still on the latest list.
Indang is suspected to have beheaded Malaysian Bernard Then Ted Fen, who was kidnapped from a seafood restaurant in Sandakan three years ago.
Hatib, Amin’s father-in-law, was recently reported to have provided protection to the former Darul Islam Sabah militant in the mountains of Sulu’s Patikul town after he fled Marawi.
Amin, from Tawau and Mahmud, a former Universiti Malaya Islamic studies lecturer, are among the new people on Esscom’s latest list.
The four other newly-wanted people are Filipinos Mujer Yadah, Tamin @ Bunju, Hamsan Pakan @ Black Cobra and Jul @ Jun Hasan.
The others who remain from the previous list are Apo Mike @ Majan Sahidjuan, Alden Badge @ Sayning, Berham Luthien @ Vietnam, Raden Abuh, Las Pangit, Marajan Asiri, Sangbas and Sabri Madrasul @ Salip Jul, who are all Filipinos.
Amin was reported to have been involved in several conflicts in southern Philippines, including the five-month Marawi war last year and the botched 2015 Mamasapano raid in Maguindanao province.
Forty-four police commandos were killed in the raid, aimed at apprehending the highly-wanted Malaysian bomb-maker implicated in the Bali bombings in 2002, Zulkifli Abdhir @ Marwan, who also died in the ambush.
After IS’ Southeast Asian leader-designate Isnilon Hapilon was killed during an ambush in Marawi, Amin was declared by the Philippine national police as the new IS leader although this was initially disputed by the Philippine military and certain experts.
Later, the Philippine military announced Amin was among 10 candidates, mostly Filipinos, who could succeed Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon, who was also his father-in-law.
Last October, based on an account of a former hostage in Marawi, FMT broke the news on Amin’s teenage son fighting alongside him in the lakeside city.
Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun later confirmed to FMT that Amin returned from southern Philippines in 2015 or 2016 to fetch his son, now aged about 14, from his family home in Tawau, before taking him back to the neighbouring nation.
Mahmud, who was said to have been trained in an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan when studying at a university in Pakistan, had been on Bukit Aman’s counterterrorism division’s list of wanted people.
He fled to southern Philippines in 2014 after learning he was wanted by Malaysian police and was later reported to have arranged financing for the Marawi battle.
Mahmud was reported to have been killed in Marawi and a video clip of his body found under the rubble of a collapsed building was aired by CNN Philippines.
The authorities said the body was confirmed as Mahmud’s based on the testimony of troops and hostages but this was not yet confirmed by DNA matching despite Malaysian police having offered their Philippine counterparts Mahmud’s DNA samples, taken from his family in Selangor.
Later, FMT reported Mahmud had a Filipino wife who was killed during the early phase of the Marawi war.